Tuesday, October 11, 2016

High School Reunion: Remembering the Past, Celebrating the Present

It's funny how some things can change in a blink of an eye and how some can stay the same for decades.  I have not always been as confident and as self-assured as I am today.  When I was in grade school, I was super shy.  I was one of the most well-behaved girls in class.  I hated speaking in front of the class.  My teacher used to say, "louder" all the time whenever it was my turn to recite.   I stayed with my small circle of friends, who, like me, were also quiet and well-behaved.  We were the good girls in the front row and we didn't like mingling with the "cool" crowd who were usually the tall girls at the back.  We were intimidated by them. They were confident and popular.   We were short, quiet and maybe, to the tall girls at the back, we were dull.  I was more or less the same in high school.

Look for the shortest.  That's me.

with my best friend

our senior class....I'm the one on the second row, second girl from the right

It was only when I entered college when I decided it was time I stopped acting as if I was inferior to these type of girls. And since, it was a new school, a new environment, I took every opportunity to create a new me.  A new Claire was born.  As time passed, I grew in wisdom and confidence.  Since then, I have accepted my height, embraced my flaws, and have taken pride in what I know and in what I can do.  I have long stopped being intimidated by tall girls and bullies.  I am proud to say that I am one of the strongest women I know.

Last weekend, I attended our batch's Silver Jubilee Homecoming.  It's been 25 years since our high school graduation and it was time to "come home".  I was excited to see my batchmates but the feelings of inadequacy that left me a long time ago, suddenly came back and prevented me from joining the cool girls in the dance performance that I so wanted to join.  Somehow, I doubted if I would enjoy practicing with them-- girls  I never even exchanged more than one word with when I was in high school.

The homecoming turned out to be fun.  Many of my batchmates  were surprised at the way I spoke and laughed.  While I was different, many of them were still the same.  There were still the bullies who would push you when they thought you had to move or those who rolled their eyes at you every time they thought you were too slow to understand them.  There were still the bright girls who thought they had the right to order you around and reprimand you when they thought you were misbehaving.  And there were still the girls who didn't know anyone except for the girls in their own clique.

Homecoming was really like going back to high school except that the faces you see are older, and that there are so many faces and names that you don't remember anymore.

with one of the nicest girls in class....she had the most beautiful singing voice I have ever heard...I was her biggest fan in high school

with some of our teachers

Even though my closest friends were not able to attend the homecoming because they were abroad, I am still glad I made the right decision and attended the event.  I am now in the process of rebuilding old relationships and it feels so good.

There is so much wisdom to be learned in the past, so many childhood memories to be cherished and preserved. These are the things that made me who I am. It's because of the past that I have so many victories and so much to be thankful for and to be celebrated  in the present.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Currently I'm....

Celebrating:  Teacher's Day.  We were actually pampered by the parents and students today by providing spa services for us. Lunch was also free.  I heard tomorrow would be another celebration.  I hope it will be fun.

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Craving: for a kind of rice cake from the province of Negros.  Hunnybed and I went to a trade fair three weeks ago and it was there where I tasted it.  It was so good specially with muscovado sugar.

Hoping: for another relaxing time playing archery with my two favorite boys.

We went straight to the archery place from our Saturday make-up classes in school, hence, the outfit.

Wishing: for more time to do this

and this,

                                                   and this .....

Loving: this layout

Waiting: for my period.  I'm one month late and it's causing me a lot of stress.

Hoping: Things would change for the better soon.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Twenty-first Letter to Sofia

My dear Sofie,

It's been quite a while since you last received a letter from me.  You know that's a good sign, don't you? That means Mommy doesn't need to write letters to feel better as much as she did before.  But although I feel so much better now, you should know that Daddy and Mommy still think and talk about you every day. We always talk about you, and try to guess what kind of personality you have.  We think about how you would react if we did certain things.  We wonder about who you look like and we actually always argue about that.  Daddy thinks you look like him but I keep insisting that you look a lot like me.  

Mommy is not yet pregnant so please help me ask for a healthy and normal baby girl from God, ok? I just need another baby to love and take care of.  Kuya needs someone he can be with in the far away future when Mommy is gone and Daddy needs someone who will love him the way little girls love their daddies.  She will never replace you.  Nobody can.  

I hope to see you in my dreams, my sweet Sofia.

Flying hugs and kisses to Heaven,

Friday, August 19, 2016

42 Favorites

I'll be turning 42 a week from now.  I thought I could write something fun in relation to my birthday so I decided to  come up with this post.

Here are my 42 favorites in no particular order.

1. Tagaytay
     I fell in love with this place 30 years ago when I first visited it on a field trip with my classmates. Countless visits after that, I am still in love with the place and I still cannot help but goggle at the scenic Taal Lake. If you want to make me happy take me there. I just hope people would just stop building new infrastructures and high rises in the city. The high rise buildings are slowly taking the charm off the city.

2. Song de Chine by Crabtree and Evelyn
    This is my most favorite scent. I discovered it in 2000. Unfortunately, they don't carry it anymore.

3. Crema de Mangga
     This is the dessert I love best. I love making it. I sing in anticipation of eating it. I can actually eat it all day. There's something heavenly about the sweet Zambales mangoes and cream.  If you want to make some but don't know how, you can check out my recipe.

4. Zambales Mangoes
    This variety is one of the sweetest in the world and I'm lucky to have been born with a small Zambales mango farm. Zambales mangoes are so sweet I thank God I'm alive everytime I eat one.

5. Hongkong
    I have visited this place thrice and compared to other Asian countries I have visited, this is the place I want to go back to everytime I think of taking a trip.

6. Jean Valjean
He is my favorite male protagonist. To me, he is the best example of human transcendence.  I just love him!

with 2016 Production's Jean Valjean

7. Les Miserables (novel and musical)
    I first heard the songs 25 years ago and read the novel after a few months. I fell in love with the novel and fell in love with the musical. I loved how the music and songs were able to express exactly the sentiments of the novel (except for the character of Marius whom I hate).

8. Victor Hugo
He had a deep understanding of man, his motives and intentions. Without him, there will be no Les Miserables and therefore, no Jean Valjean.

9. Wuthering Heights
This is the only depressing story that I love. I wish the one who borrowed my copy would return it to me...wishful thinking.

10. Scarlett O'Hara

She is my favorite female protagonist. I don't know why I love her because many people hate her.  She is actually really hateful and while reading the book I hated her too but afterwards I loved her character. Weird huh?

11. Gone with the Wind

I love history and culture and this book has a lot of both.

12. Pesto
This always tops my list be it a dip or pasta sauce. It's very easy to make too!

 13. Christmas
Who doesn't love this holiday? Christmas just fills you with joy and nostalgia. Each Christmas tune or decor or even just the weather brings you memories of Christmas past and hope for what's to come. It's my favorite day of the year which makes  December my favorite month.

14. December
     This is such a happy month for me. First it's the holiday season so there are lots of events to go to. Second, this is the month of our wedding anniversary and the the month when we first learned I was pregnant with Sofia.

15. The town of Taal
      As you have read above, I am a lover of history and culture.  It is for this reason that I love the heritage town of Taal.  Unlike other parts of the country where people have no sense of history and old houses are demolished to make way for modern ones, the people of Taal have found a way to preserve their old houses and keep an old-world charm.  To preserve this feel, atm's, McDonald's, Jollibee are nowhere to be found.  The heritage town is also famous for their balisong, longganisa, tapa and cheap hand-embrodered barong Tagalog.

a bird's eyeview atop the Taal Basilica

16. Taal Basilica

This is the largest Catholic church in Asia.  Each pillar, each stone speaks of history.  I couldn't help but fall in love at first sight.  I've always wanted to visit it and when I finally did, I was not disappointed.  In fact, I was amazed beyond my expectations.

17. lace

    There's something about lace that makes me feel so feminine.

18. August
     This is the month of my birth, the month of my mom's birth and the month I first became a mom.
a young mother at 25....(a few weeks before my 26th birthday)

19. buko salad (strips of young coconut meat, with grapes,cherries, pears, condensed milk and nestle cream)

Of all the salads, this is my favorite.  I can eat kilos of it in a day!

20. musical plays
      My dad used to take  us to musical plays when I was a teenager.  This made me fall in love with the theater, most specially with musical plays.

21. Daughtry's Gone Too Soon

      This song is just perfect for parents who have angel babies.

22.  The Accidental Hero
       This movie which starred Dustin Hoffman, Andy Garcia and Geena Davis was a very funny movie.   I watched it in when I was still in college and never forgot it. I loved it so much that I bought a copy of it four years ago. In a funny way, it showed the sad reality that we judge by appearances,  and the inspiring truth that all of us, even the unlikely ones, can all be heroes if life catches us at the right moment.

23.  Ever After
       This Drew Barrymore movie was the best Cinderalla movie for me.

24.  Legally Blonde
      I fell in love with Reese Witherspoon in this movie....one of the movies I love watching again and again.

25. April
     This is the month of my Sofie's birth.  Though it was also the month she went back to Heaven, I will always look forward to celebrating her birthday.

Sofia's 1st birthday celebration - picnic in the mountains

26. Makati City
    As a young girl, working in Makati had always been my dream. To the young  impressionable version of me, Makati offered a world of modernity and sophistication which other cities lacked,   specially in the 80's, so when I finished college I never entertained calls from companies without a Makati address.  I accepted an offer from a multinational financial company three months after graduation and Makati became my home for almost ten years--- the place where many of my most memorable  memories were made, where most of my lasting friendships were built.  Today, so many things have changed, I can hardly recognize some of the streets but it will always be special to me as evidenced by the feeling of nostalgia that I always have whenever I visit.
 30. White pearls
       The simplicity and elegance of pearls have always been beautiful in my eyes.

 31. Crystals
       Who wouldn't love how they sparkle in the sun?

 32. Carnation and Gerbera
       These are really pretty flowers that can stay pretty for a long time.

 33. Ronan Keating
       A handsome man with a beautiful voice

 34. Christopher Reeve
       He will always be my Superman.

 35. Smallville
       Loved this show...thanks to my husband who introduced it to me.

 36. MacGyver
       He formed many of my ideals and inspired some of the decisions I made in my younger years.
 37. Monk and Psych
      These were really funny TV series.  My son introduced them to me and my Hunnybed and we had a lot of laughing-out-loud moments watching them.

 38. Michael Jackson
      Well, he's the King of Pop.  Need I say more?

 39. Body Shop's Vitamin E (day cream)
      It's the best moisturizer for me  -- very light, easily absorbed by the skin and leaves no sticky feeling.

  40. Cheetos Jalapeno
        Cheese and jalapeno are just the best combination.

  41. My son's first story.
       He wrote it when he was six years old. You can check it out here.  On second thought, maybe it was his second because the title reads "Johnny English Part 2".

  42. A post I wrote about Sofia.
        This is the story of her birth and her flying back to Heaven. Check it out here

What are your favorites?